Storm Threat 2016: Protecting your home or business

By Mason Stevenson, Special Projects Senior Producer
Last Updated: Monday, May 23, 2016, 2:36 PM EDT

When it comes to hurricanes, every Floridian is concerned about protecting their property. Sometimes that includes a home, a business or both. Here are some tips from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety to make sure your home or business survives a storm and is there when you return to it.

Hurricane preparation for homes

  • Shutters: Install the hardware needed to put up shutters or pre-cut plywood to protect windows and doors now. This will allow for easier installation if the storm threatens your area.
  • Surroundings: Bring in any loose items, such as garbage cans and lawn furniture, and pick up any debris in the yard that can act as a projectile during high winds, before a storm arrives.
  • Trees: Trim your risk of damage by cutting weak tree branches, along with branches that are positioned over structures, which could be broken off by high winds and cause property damage. Learn more about reducing tree damage.
  • Seals: Make sure caulking around windows and doors is in good shape and not cracked, broken or missing, and fill any holes or gaps around pipes or wires that enter your building.
  • Roofs: Inspect your roof and overhang to look for signs of wear or damage. Have your roof inspected to make sure the roof sheathing is well-connected. Learn more about strengthening your roof against high winds and wind-driven rains.
  • Attached Structures: Have porches, carports, entryway canopies and storage sheds inspected to make sure they are firmly attached and in sound structural condition.
  • Sump Pumps & Drains: Inspect sump pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a sump pump has a battery backup, make sure the batteries are fresh or replace the batteries.
  • Generators: Prepare and test your generator BEFORE a storm strikes.

Hurricane preparedness for businesses

  • Have your building(s) inspected and complete any maintenance needed to ensure your building can stand up to severe weather.
  • Designate an employee to monitor weather reports and alert your team to the potential of severe weather.
  • Review your business continuity plan and update as needed, including employee contact information. If you do not have a business continuity plan, consider IBHS’ free, easy-to-use business continuity plan toolkit for small businesses, OFB-EZ® (Open for Business-EZ).
  • Remind employees of key elements of the plan, including post-event communication procedures and work/payroll procedures. Make sure all employees have a paper copy of the plan. Review emergency shutdown and start-up procedures, such as electrical systems, with appropriate personnel, including alternates.
  • If backup power such as a diesel generator is to be used, test your system and establish proper contracts with fuel suppliers for emergency fuel deliveries.
  • Re-inspect and replenish emergency supplies inventory, since emergency supplies are often used during the offseason for non-emergency situations.
  • Test all life safety equipment.
  • Conduct training/simulation exercises for both your business continuity and emergency preparedness/response plans.

SOURCE: Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety